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Prestigious INDEX: Design to Improve Life amongst international players at Open Design Cape Town 2015

For the first time on the African continent, a curated selection of the world's biggest design awards - the internationally renowned INDEX: Design to Improve Life® based in Copenhagen - will participate as a collaboration partner with Open Design Cape Town Festival. The selection of innovative design that showcases how design improves lives in Africa and beyond, is a featured highlight of the festival's "Design is for Tomorrow" 2015 Open Design expo showcase, which runs from 12-23 August 2015.
"With challenges like Ebola, electricity supply and housing, Africa is an amazing base for designers whose projects seek to improve lives through innovative design," said Suné Stassen, Open Design Festival Director. "The solutions to these and other problems lie in innovative designs produced by people with a passion for making things. We cannot underestimate the ability of designers, innovators and even the man on the street to change the world."

The 12-day citywide festival will also host a number of other innovative design projects and exhibitions derived from international partnerships with Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and the United States at various festival hubs such as Cape Town City Hall, the Watershed and the Lookout at the V&A Waterfront.

Created by Denmark in 2002, INDEX: Design to Improve Life® is in sync with the values and principles that made Danish design widely renowned in the last century, focusing on humanism, social understanding and democratic thinking. It promotes the application of design and design processes to improve vital areas of people's lives worldwide.

The Danish collaboration will also bring three innovative designers from Denmark as speakers and workshop facilitators:
  • Originally from France, Jo-Anne Kowalski studied textiles in Sweden and now works in Denmark. She taught herself coding and is now exploring the successful marriage between the different worlds of textiles, fashion and technology.

  • Architect, author and teacher Julie Dufour Wiese will talk about the design of Copenhagen's Ama'r Children's Culture House, a space designed by children for children. Her hands-on involvement includes teaching children of all ages how to add value to their own environments and communities, how to experience public spaces and take ownership of them through imagining and creating ideas, as well as teaching architecture skills to high school students.

  • Industrial design engineer Morten Ydefeldt, who has designed everything from a Polargraph drawing machine to a laser-cut "diamond" ring to a lamp laser cut from a single piece of plywood.
Also coming to Open Design through the Danish Arts and Culture Agency will be PingOut, a public space ping pong activation that gathers people together who wouldn't normally interact. There are 70 Ping Out tables in Denmark, where street artists are invited to paint tables and local businesses are invited to take ownership of bats and balls. The Open Design table will make appearances at festival hubs in Langa and closer to where many of the festival events will be taking place in the city centre, Waterfront and Fringe districts.

Open Design will be hosting the global phenomenon that is the Maker Faire, which originated in the United States. A celebration of the Maker Movement, the Faire is a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness. Faire gathers together tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, food artisans, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. Makers come to show their creations and share their learnings.

Open Design is open to everyone, whether they are new to design or already see design as critical to designing our future world. While some events are ticketed, most events are free to attend. It is advisable to register for each event on the website or on Quicket to book seats as numbers are limited. External event hosts can submit their own events on the Open Design website ( and apply to be included in the 2015 programme.

Official festival partners include the City of Cape Town and the V&A Waterfront. Other Open Design partners include the Royal Netherlands Embassy, the Danish Agency of Culture and the Cape Craft and Design Institute.

For more information and a full festival programme log onto or follow @opendesignct on Twitter, @opendesignct on Instagram and Opendesignct on Facebook - hashtags are #Design4Tomorrow or #OpenDesignCT.

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